Elephant Chips


The Ancient Mayan legend says that Guatemalans are “the people of the corn”. One day three gods, all water-dwelling feathered serpents, tried to create man. They began with mud, but the creation could neither talk nor dance. Second they tried wood, but the figures had no souls or blood, and destroyed all creatures in their sight. Finally, they successfully created men from maize, or dough made from cornmeal. And so, that is how the Guatemalans call themselves the people of the corn. When we think about this creation story compared with the other traditions of the world, it may not seem that far fetched.

Another Legend says that Elephants come from potatoes*. And if you look not-too-carefully at a gnarled spud you might see a resemblance (perhaps the ears and trunks form after fertilization). The story says that if the mother elephant fails to protect her eggs carefully, the greedy humans will ravage her nest and turn them into delicious mashed potatoes with garlic and chives. Alternatively, if the mother sits on her eggs too long, she will squish them, turning them into potato chips, which the humans also quickly gobble up. It is a delicate balance reproducing in the elephant world.

That must have happened here. We made some lovely, simple, healthy potato chips tonight to accompany our tuna sandwiches. However, they didn’t become flat from an overprotective momma elephant…they were just thinly sliced, tossed with olive oil, salt, and paprika, and put in the oven for 20 minutes at 425, flipping half-way through.

Elephant Chips:
3 large russet potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
1 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Thinly slice the potatoes and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss. Place the potatoes on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake multiple batches if necessary, otherwise the chips won’t crisp. Sprinkle with paprika, more or less to taste. I recommend experimenting with your favorite herbs and spices- paprika is always my go-to-spice for this kinda stuff. In the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping half way through, or until golden. Baking time may vary depending on your oven and how thick you slice your potatoes.

*The second myth is not a true Mayan legend. Solo tonteras.